Wikipedia is the eighth most visited web site in the world and consistently shows up on the first page of results for thousands of key words. (For the one or two people out there who don’t know, Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit and contribute to.) From an SEO perspective, Wikipedia can help your brand dominate the first page of results and generate links to your site. However, you have to be careful about how you manage your Wikipedia page. Wikipedia isn’t an advertising or promotional site. Wikipedia aims to be a resource for unbiased and comprehensive information that is free to everyone. The content that appears there must comply with Wikipedia’s guiding principles: it must be noteworthy, neutral and verifiable.
Can your company have a Wikipedia page?
To begin, see if your company already has a Wikipedia page. Since Wikipedia has hundreds of thousands of contributors, you may have a page and not realize it. If so, you can edit the page to add content and information about your brand. If not, you may be able to start a new page, but only if your company is “noteworthy,” which basically means it has to substantially contribute to the field or the economy, or have a long-standing history. According to Wikipedia, “Companies reported as significant subjects of news coverage are usually sufficiently notable.” Start-ups and small businesses usually don’t rate, unless they have achieved some notoriety.
If you don’t have enough information to start a new page, try finding a page related to your industry, and then editing that page to reference something on your website.
Content guidelines for your company page on Wikipedia
Before you jump in to create a site, or edit one that is currently there, let’s talk about how to live by Wikipedia’s rules. There are lots of rules (see Primer for Newcomers), but I’m focusing specifically on the goal of getting your company represented on Wikipedia. It’s important to follow the guidelines because content that defies them will be deleted (sometimes instantly) by one of Wikipedia’s contributors or editors.
Guidelines for content about a company on Wikipedia:
- Information about companies and products must be written in an objective and unbiased style.
- Do not copy text from your brochure or website. The content must be free of self-promotion and self-praise.
- All article topics must be verifiable with independent, third-party sources.
So, to contribute to Wikipedia, think of yourself as a reporter and keep to “just the facts.”
What to include on a Wikipedia page about your company
- Facts about your company’s founding or place in history
- Awards or honors from reputable third-parties (all the better if the award comes from a group or organization that is listed in Wikipedia that you can link to).
- Significant contributions to your industry that can be verified by referencing a third-party, such as previously published works or news stories.
- Notable officers or leaders in your company
Get Started on Wikipedia
If you want to contribute to Wikipedia, you must register. Go here to get started. Note, when neutrality is your goal, I think it’s best to register with Wikipedia using a personal email (not one with your company domain). Take your time, and get familiar with Wikipedia’s rules and content. Then start small with some factual updates that you can cite and/or link to.
Using Wikipedia can take some patience, but having your brand represented there provides authenticity and exposure that is worth the effort.